I’m gradually catching up with life! Here’s Part 2 to prove it.
Mary Sharratt, Historical Novel Society Conference, 17 October – I knew nothing about Mary or her book Daughters of the Witching Hill, but she gave such an interesting and engaging talk about the history behind the novel that I have added it to my reading list. Memorable moment: listening to her read – she has a lovely accent!
Manda Scott, HNS Conference, 17 November – Manda was supposed to be talking about author/publisher relationships with her publisher Selina Walker, but unfortunately Ms Walker could not make it. Instead, she gave us some wonderful – and funny - insights into how her writing career got started. Memorable moments: actually there are so many that I’m cheating and picking three. Manda said the f word. Thank god: it made me feel more at home. Manda told us how the gods told her to write her Boudica novels when she was on a vision quest. Manda told us how Christianity came into being and showed up Paul as the villain. Wild language, wild theories, wild woman – what’s not to like?
Hilary Green, HNS Conference, 17 November – Hilary was talking about love and war. Not big topics then, and all fiction can be fitted into them – there’s always love of someone or something, and there’s always conflict, if not actual war. Her books are set in WW2. Memorable moment: offering to sell us 4 paperbacks for £20 or 4 hardbacks for £25.
Jean Fullerton, HNS Conference, 17 November – East Ender Jean gave a talk about doing historical research. There wasn’t much I didn’t know already but it was well presented by a likeable speaker, and there’s never any harm in being reminded of things. Memorable moment: Jean showed us some old photographs of the streets where her stories are set and talked about how she sees her characters going about them. As a writer who also sees her characters moving about before her very eyes it was encouraging to see that you can appear perfectly sane and sensible (for so Jean struck me) while doing this.
Sarah Dunant, University of Bristol, 26 October – Sarah Dunant gave a wonderful lecture on how she used Renaissance art in her work and talked about the links between art and literature. She’s a great speaker, fabulously erudite, and is absolutely brilliant at giving a fascinating response to even the most unpromising questions. Memorable moment: Sarah included my favourite painting in her presentation – The Doge of Venice by Bellini. The hours I’ve spent in front of this sublime canvas!
Manda Scott on Rome, Boudica and shamanic dreaming - http://www.mandascott.co.uk/about.aspx
Love and war - Hilary Green explains her theories and the history behind her books - http://www.hilarygreen.co.uk/
Visit the East End with Jean Fullerton - http://www.jeanfullerton.com/
Sarah Dunant - http://www.sarahdunant.com/
The Doge of Venice - http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giovanni-bellini-doge-leonardo-loredan